Okay so the title may be a bit extreme, I can’t completely blame fast fashion alone for allowing me to feel this way, at that time I was a naive and insecure young lady, and this did fuel my dislike towards my own body image. This is coming from someone is was 5 foot 9 and was 10 stone (oh those were the days).
I was always into sport from a young age so worrying about being overweight or “out of shape” was never on my radar until my late teens. I became more aware and influenced by the “it” body image, at the time “it”, was to be gaunt and skinny. Whereas now it is the gym girl body image, toned and strong, which is definitely an improvement but just like the previous trends “it” is still unobtainable for many…
To start with, the hole shopping experience is brutal, and mainly why I rarely clothes shop anymore, having to reef through all of the tiny sizes to eventually get to what I thought my size would be. Next I face the dressing room queue, I stand looking at a gorgeous, tall and thin model image that covers the dressing room wall and subconsciously begin to compare myself to this professional model and image.
Finally, to get to try it on and realise “Nope this is definitely not my size”, to small and catching at my hips and shoulders. I am left feeling disappointed and annoyed with myself, as I examine how far off the zip is from closing and wonder how on earth will I get this off? I notice from the two mirrors in the changing room where my problems lie in not getting into this dress. Upon leaving the changing rooms I plan a gym session later that day. And so, the vicious cycle of over exercising and eating like a rabbit to try to fit into these high street clothes would continue (for 6 years).
It wasn’t until I was 23 years old and fed up with how I felt before I asked myself, ‘’There has to be a better way?’’ My mother’s words came hurtling back to me “Aine, you don’t fit into those clothes because they were never designed to fit you anyway”.
Now 2 years on and since setting up Zobi I can confirm many women have expressed similar experiences to us about their shopping horrors. I want you to know, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Perhaps age has a big thing to do with my realisation, a mother that has worked in fashion for many years but the day I really woke up I promised myself I wouldn’t keep going back to them shops that made me feel this strange sort of self-shame.
By learning how to dress for my body shape and appreciating all that my body allows me to do I rarely get triggered by how I or others look. One handy tip I do have is to keep a nice outfit for them days I am feeling insecure or wake up a size bigger and my normal clothes are that bit tighter, sometimes setting up a confident and comfortable outfit can do wonders for the mind.
If I could go back and share this with my 16-year-old self I would because damn she was mean to herself.